Webcasts are stories which have been formatted for "broadcast" on the Internet.
One of the earliest examples of a Doctor Who webcast was the 1999 Comic Relief spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, which was broadcast on TV in the UK, but also made available online worldwide. Today such streaming of televised programming is not considered "webcasts", but Fatal Death predated this format by several years.
The BBC subsequently has produced four original webcasts which were "broadcast" on a weekly schedule on the BBC website. These were animated (or partially animated) stories featuring the voices of TV cast members.
Following the broadcast all stories have been released on CD, except Scream of the Shalka; plans to release a DVD edition of that story were cancelled after the announcement of a new TV series in 2004. A novelisation was, however, published.
All four stories were produced for the BBC, however only Death Comes to Time was produced by the BBC. Real Time and Shada were produced by Big Finish Productions who produced Doctor Who (and Doctor Who-related) and Bernice Summerfield audio and prose stories. Whilst Scream of the Shalka was animated and produced by Cosgrove Hall.
The BBC website also featured Captain Jack's Monster Files, a series of retrospectives on various Doctor Who monsters, featuring original footage of John Barrowman. This is to date the only original webcast to use live-action footage. In 2009, a "spin-off" production of the Monster Files, A Ghost Story for Christmas, appeared on the website.
Attack of the Graske, an interactive game from 2005, is often erroneously referenced as a webcast; it was not, however, produced for the Internet.
During the second season of the revived Doctor Who, broadcast in 2006, the BBC uploaded brief one-minute "Tardisodes" to the Doctor Who website and to mobile phone users. These mini stories tied in with the episode broadcast that week, often filling in backstory for the episode. These features were never released to DVD.
The sixth series also featured prequels to three stories, broadcast in a similar manner.
A different form of "webcast" is original fiction published exclusively online, with no print version made available. Since approximately 2004 a number of original short stories have been published by the BBC online, beginning with The Feast of the Stone featuring the so-called Shalka Doctor, and between 2007 and 2009 the BBC's Doctor Who website periodically featured original fiction featuring the Tenth Doctor, as well as a series of Web-exclusive comic strips dubbed the Writers' Comics.
The internet has for years also been a venue for fans to informally share their own original, though unofficial original works namely fan fiction.
International availability Edit
A controversial aspect of BBC Online's content is that much of it is "geo-fenced" or "geo-locked" (the exact term varies) so that only users whose computers are recognised as being in the United Kingdom can access it. In the early days of the BBC's Doctor Who website, content such as the webcast serials was viewable internationally. Since the show's return to television in 2005 (and subsequent launch of a redesigned website), much of the content — in particular anything with video — has been restricted to UK users only. Reasons given for this include issues involving copyright clearance and license fees for characters and actors appearing in the clips, to the fact that BBC Online's content is generated using funds collected from UK-based TV licence-fee payers. Text-based material such as the short stories and e-books, as well as other material such as photos and comic strips, has generally been left available for all users. (Despite the restrictions, all video-related content has at one point or another ended up on file-sharing and video-sharing services.)
In January 2010 many links to content on BBC Online's Doctor Who website now point to a "placeholder page" promoting the new era of Doctor Who which will involve a redesign and rebranding of the official website. Material from the 2005-2009 version of the site (and earlier) can still be accessed via a link. However the link includes the notation "Only available in the UK". As of 15 January 2010 this link is still active for international users; it is at present unknown whether content from BBC Online's Doctor Who home page will continue to be available to users outside the United Kingdom as it has been since the 1990s.